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Old 12-30-2012, 11:13 PM   #1
onthekeg
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Default Scaltrol... Snake Oil?

Has anyone heard of this type of treatment? My first thought is that it is as good as the old magnets they wanted us to believe in. Now they are trying polyphosphates. How is this legal when we can't have phosphates in our cleaning detergents to begin with??

http://www.scaltrolinc.com/intro.htm

I am NOT convinced..

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Old 12-31-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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Its just a phosphate buffer. I doubt its mechanism of action - there is no reason for phosphate to spontaneously deposit on anything, nor is there any reason why such a deposit would protect from other deposits. If it does work, its likely though creating an acidic pH, which will keep many minerals soluble.

Bryan

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Old 12-31-2012, 12:24 AM   #3
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The part I find interesting is that they removed phosphates from the detergents we are allowed to use, and allow a company to "soften" water with phosphates. Thats why the phosphates were in the detergents in a large degree.

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Old 12-31-2012, 12:58 AM   #4
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Phosphate precipitates calcium carbonate, so it can help with hardness. But again, a coating of calcium phosphate isn't going to prevent other minerals from precipitating - if anything, it could nucleate further precipitation reactions. I suspect the mechanism of action (assuming it works) is simply pH.

Bryan

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Old 12-31-2012, 01:26 AM   #5
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Here is the law banning phosphates:
Sixteen states are beginning a dishwasher detergent phosphate ban, according to a report in the Associated Press. Starting Thursday, stores will no longer be allowed to sell dishwasher detergent with more than 0.5 percent phosphorous. However, the law does not apply to commercial dishwashing products.

States instituting the rule include Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

In some areas, the ban has already been in place for years. Spokane and Watcom counties in Washington have had a ban in place since 2008, while Oregon passed a law last year that reduced the allowable phosphate levels in automatic dishwasher detergent from 8.7 percent to 0.5 percent.

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2...hosphate-soap/

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Old 12-31-2012, 04:06 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onthekeg View Post
Has anyone heard of this type of treatment? Now they are trying polyphosphates.
Yes. Polyphosphates are capable of chelating metal ions such as calcium, magnesium and iron. As the complex is soluble and ties up the calcium (or magnesium or iron) these are no longer available to form soap curds, stain porcelain etc. Install one of these devices and your water should test soft but keep in mind that the chelation complex is still in it.

Keep in mind that the goal of 'softening' brewing water is usually really decarbonation i.e. it is the bicarbonate you want to remove and pay the penalty of having the calcium go out with it as a precipitate of calcium carbonate. Water so 'softened' also tests soft but the calcium and bicarbonate have truly been removed as the precipitate. The calcium would then be replaced by supplementation with a calcium salt. With polyphoshphate softening you would remove the calcium (and magnesium and iron) but not touch the bicarbonate. Thus, unless your goal is specifically to remove divalent (and up) metal ions polyphosphate softening is not the way to go in brewing.

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Originally Posted by onthekeg View Post
How is this legal when we can't have phosphates in our cleaning detergents to begin with??
That I don't know. A guess might be that in the complex the calcium is sequestered by the polyphosphate but at the same time the phosphate is sequestered by the calcium thus it is not as available for eutrophication but then what happens if one over doses and supplies more polyphosphate than there are divalent metal ions?
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Old 12-31-2012, 04:19 AM   #7
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AJ and Warthaug,
I am not even thinking of purchasing this unit, but I thank both of you for the insight on the chemistry involved. That was my main question, I wasn't sure if it was feasible or not.
My other question, probably poorly posed, was that this company is doing something that is outlawed in many states. Now, don't get me wrong, I love phosphates, I purchase them every year to fertilize crops, but I can't buy the "real" TSP to wash walls with before I paint in my nanny MN state.

I am curious how this company continues selling things in MN actually? Their website doesn't say that they can't ship to certain areas?

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